Christ’s Example of Humility Philippians 2:1-11
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I LOVE this passage. Paul starts off by saying to the believers, “If you’re only a little bit into this, if you have a hint of Christ’s love, if you’re at least partly on board with this whole faith business, then COMPLETE MY JOY by coming together as a community.” Get over yourself, put others first, get a clue that it’s about serving others and putting them ahead of your own needs along the way. Cuz guess what? Jesus did it first. He was God, but didn’t make a big deal out of it. The point is Jesus – showing the way to Him, pointing to His amazing work on the cross and in the empty tomb. It’s not about making ourselves look awesome in the eyes of others.
And that’s really hard sometimes. Our pride keeps us wanting that recognition. Or at least a pat on the back. We get resentful when our service goes unnoticed. We want to quit when we feel like others expect too much of us. After all, it’s not my responsibility… Except that it is. Because I’m walking and breathing and have this thing called the Holy Spirit nudging me. Because you have a need and I can fill it. Because it’s not about me deciding if you deserve to have me do something for you, because none of us deserved to have Jesus die for us. Just the opposite. We deserved to have God crush us like the little bugs that we are. Instead He sent His Son into our miserable world to be born in a dirty barn, to live a nomadic life, to preach to those who refused to listen, to heal those who were often ungrateful, to eventually be tried as a criminal and executed. All so that we could be brought back into the family of God!
No, I’m not going to be able to be like Jesus and serve with perfect patience. I’m not going to be able to avoid the feelings of resentment that rise up in me. But every day I can pray that He gives me the strength to face the challenges ahead, and to serve with as much grace as I can. I fail and He forgives, and I start over again. And I hope that in all of it, I can point the way to the cross and the tomb, and show others a little bit of that love that has been poured out over me. That’s where complete joy is truly found.